Scholastic, 2003. 978-0-439-53164-1
Synopsis: Meggie and her father Mortimer – Mo – have lived a quiet life in the German countryside for many years, occasionally leaving home when Mo is called to repair old books. Then one night, a mysterious man named Dustfinger appears on their doorstep. Dustfinger tells Mo, whom he calls Silvertongue, that a man named Capricorn is looking for him and for something that Mo has in his possession. Meggie and Mo flee the next morning to her mother’s aunt Elinor’s home in Italy, where Mo hopes they will be safe. But when Mo and Meggie are kidnapped by Capricorn’s men, Meggie learns the truth: Capricorn and Dustfinger are characters from a book named Inkheart and one night when reading aloud to her mother, Mo brought the characters out of the book. Now, Meggie and Mo must figure out how to get the characters back into their own world before they can alter our own.
Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me very highly by my college roommate.
Why I finished it: The story is enchanting from the first page to the last and succeeds in creating for the reader a twist on what could be considered a more modern fairy tale. I was drawn in by the fact that the two characters are bookworms and that the entire house is filled with a plethora of rare and common books in varying states of wear and tear. – but then again, that’s kind of what my room looks like. Funke’s humor is very understated and balances well with the dramatic moments. The plot was well-paced and I felt strategically unfolded before we are told the main points of the novel; however, I felt the ending was kind of slow, but Funke does manage to save the ending from being cliché and wrapping things up neatly – but this book is the first in a trilogy, so you can’t have things conclude too quickly. I found the idea of reading characters out of books to be very imaginative, no doubt playing off of the childhood desire to bring the characters out of a book and find out what they would be like in real life or – quite literally – get lost in a book. The book is a rather imposing 500+ pages, but is very engaging for its length; I’m excited to see what happens in the next installment.
Other related materials: Inkheart (movie); Inkspell by Cornelia Funke; Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke; The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke; Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke; Reckless by Cornelia Funke; Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke; The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini; Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage; Fablehaven by Brandon Mull; The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo; The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart; The Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis; The Sisters Grimm books by Michael Buckley